House Negro

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"House Negro" (also "House Nigger") is a pejorative term for a black person, used to compare someone to a house slave of a slave owner from the historic period of legal slavery in the United States. The term comes from a speech "Message to the Grass Roots" (1963) by African American activist Malcolm X, wherein he explains that during slavery, there were two kinds of slaves: "house Negroes", who worked in the master's house, and "field Negroes", who performed the manual labor outside.

He characterizes the house Negro as having a better life than the field Negro, and thus unwilling to leave the plantation and potentially more likely to support existing power structures that favor whites over blacks. Malcolm X identified with the field Negro. The term is used against individuals,[1][2] in critiques of attitudes within the African American community,[3] and as a borrowed term for critiquing parallel situations.[4]

Other countries[edit]

In New Zealand in 2012, Hone Harawira, a Member of Parliament and leader of the socialist Mana Party, aroused controversy after referring to Maori MPs from the ruling New Zealand National Party as "little house niggers" during a heated debate on electricity privatisation, and its potential effect on Waitangi Tribunal claims.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Malcolm X Speaks, George Breitman, ed. (New York: Grove Weidenfeld Publishers, 1990). ISBN 0-8021-3213-8